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Trees bring so much to a landscape. They also take years to foster and grow into the majestic old-growth trees that we all love. We can always add young trees, and transplant or move slightly more established trees, but mostly older trees must stay where they are. So your best plan to to keep them healthy and strong, and utilize them purposefully in your landscaping.

There are signs you can look out for that your tree isn’t doing well. When your tree is sick or weak it’s important to take action to help it recover, or to remove it from your property before it spreads illness to other trees. 

It’s always an option to remove a healthy tree, too. Don’t feel guilt for not keeping it if it conflicts with your landscape plans. The trees on your property are yours, and you can use them to create your ideal outdoor area.


If you want to keep your trees, watch out for these signs of ill health:


Leaf Loss

During the autumn and winter months, it is expected for deciduous trees to lose some or all their foliage.  If this happens in the spring and summer months, this is a clear indicator of a problem. Same if the leaves became brittle or turn brown or reddish in Spring or Summer months. 


Absence of Bark

The peeling or loss of bark on the tree trunk is a strong indicator of disease. Missing bark can also be caused by weed eaters, poor nutrient availability, or other environmental conditions. Either way it makes a tree highly vulnerable to bacteria, disease or fungus.

Also look at the branches of your trees. If the bark is missing, it’s likely deadwood. Deadwood branches are dangerous. They may fall and are often areas of excessive fungus growth. If you see branches like this, you should contact a certified arborist right away. Even if your tree isn’t dead, this could be an indication of an infestation. You can take steps to prevent it from attacking the healthier parts of your tree.


Trunk Strength

If the tree’s trunk becomes hollow or soft, it is almost always a dying tree. Like a potato that goes bad. It becomes squishy and if you leave it out long enough it starts decomposing from the inside out. You may see mushrooms, cavities, insect damage, or other signs that your tree is decaying.



You can’t see your tree’s roots, but you can gather whether something is wrong with them. You may see soil rising around the base of the tree, or surface roots that show signs of decay. Roots may be suffering if your tree has started to lean, or no longer produces as many leaves as it has in the past.

As you plan your landscape design and do landscaping projects throughout the years, be mindful of your trees. They are a beautiful natural asset you’ll want to protect.

We can help you design a outdoor space that features your trees and uses them to your advantage. Contact Meadowbrook Design today to get started creating the landscape of your dreams.